Archive | January 2010

Beer tastes on a tapwater budget

My sister is in a position where her family is going to by a new(er) car in the next few months, one that will better fit her growing family then the Dodge Neon she and her husband bought when they were in college.  Sis and I have had fun wandering through virtual car-lots together, looking for vehicles that meet her requirements, regardless of price.

The last time we were together and both had our laptops, I decided that I couldn’t let her have all the fun, so I started looking at cars for me.  I drive a 14-year-old Geo, and would like a new car, but, my car runs fine and still gets 30+ miles to the gallon, so I have no real need to replace it.  That is, even if I had the funds to spend on a new car, which I most definitely do not.

So, off to carmax.com to see what I can find.  What kind of car would I like?  A sporty 2-door coupe would be nice.  So would a convertible. I like driving a manual transmission.  Leather seats? Why not?  And so on and so forth.

I came up with a list of absolutely gorgeous cars, ones that would turn my head if I saw them driving down the freeway, with names like Porsche and Lexus and BMW.  The thing is, though, I started picturing the kind of person, especially a woman in her late 20’s, who would drive cars like that, and it definitely wasn’t me.  Not only am I not that kind of woman, I have no desire to be that kind of woman.

So, off to look at cars that were more my style.  You know, the ones made by Volkswagen and Toyota.  Again, nice cars, but…eh, kinda boring.

Then, I thought, I want something that I can take out exploring.  You know, a Jeep!

Finally, I found the cars that I could get excited about.  A car that I could fall in love with.  Specifically, this car:

So, if either of my readers have an extra $15,000 lying around, and want to do something extra nice with it…

For those of you keeping track at home, if I had all the money in the world to buy a car, I’d turn down the $67,000 Porsche 911 in favor of a $15,000 Jeep Wrangler.  Although, granted, if I had all the money in the world to buy a car, I’d probably be looking at them new, rather than used.

Randomosity

I’ve had a hard time coming up with a blog post for the past couple of days, so I thought that I’d post a bunch of random stuff about me and about the dogs.

About Me:

  1. I was born exactly one week before my sister’s first birthday.
  2. Even though I love to read and write, I’ve never been able to spell.  Thank goodness for spellcheck!
  3. I’ve ridden Willie Nelson’s horse.  Bareback.
  4. The hospital once told my mom I was dead. (She gets mad at me when she hears me say that, but then she’s thinking of a different trip to the hospital than I am)
  5. I have the most random food allergies:  I’m allergic to pineapple, raw carrots (but not cooked), soy (but not edamaime), and lychee.  Melons, bananas and tree nuts are on the ‘should be avoided’ list, but I don’t have a full-blown allergy to them.  When I have an allergic reaction to food, my throat swells up and I have a hard time breathing.
  6. I LOVE cooked carrots, as long as someone else prepares them for me (if I get carrot juice on my skin, I break out into hives.)  My favorite way to eat cooked carrots is to dip them in ketchup.
  7. I’ve always been better at telling stories than at math.  When I was trying to learn my times tables, I had to assign each number a personality, then make up stories with the location of the plot being the answer.–1 is just there, 2 is a reporter, 3 is an adventurer, 4 is helpful, 5 is a trickster, 6 is a peacemaker, 7 is a bitch, 8 is a romantic, and 9 is an entrepreneur.  (And, no I didn’t know all those words in the 3rd grade)
  8. I’ve seen a ghost.  Or something.
  9. I love working with my hands.
  10. I get annoyed with people who think their values and ideals are the only ones of worth, even if I share those values and ideals.
  11. I don’t remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater, but I like to keep track of what’s playing, and reading about the plots of the movies.
  12. I struggle in social situations, but I love to perform, give talks and speeches.
  13. I like to watch ScFi movies and TV shows, but I don’t like to read ScFi books.  Same goes for mysteries.
  14. I have a sweet tooth, but I still prefer carbohydrates. My perfect dessert is a slice of fresh, homemade bread loaded with homemade apricot jam.
  15. I love working with my hands.
  16. I’m a daddy’s girl.  I love to spend time with my dad, and to geocache and explore the desert with him.
  17. I love to sing, but I’m not very good.  Last time I sang to G, he asked me why I was crying.
  18. I also love drawing, but am not very good.  I’m much better on a computer than with a pencil and paper.  I think it all has to do with the “ctrl+z” function.
  19. Most people assume I’m a democrat.  I’m not, I’m more of an independent.  It’s just that I don’t think that the government should be the ones telling us who we can marry, what we can do with our bodies, etc.
  20. My favorite color is orange.  My favorite color is orange because when I was a little girl, I loved Rainbow Brite, and my favorite one of her friends was Lala Orange.
  21. I hate to wear shoes because they make my feet too hot.  I inherited this from my Grandpa.
  22. I sneeze and get a runny nose after I’ve eaten too much.  I also inherited this from my Grandpa.
  23. I love documentaries but hate reality shows.
  24. I’m obsessed with birds.
  25. I love water and swimming, but hate wearing a swimming suit.  I even like to wash the dishes because it’s an excuse to play in the water!

About the Dogs:

  1. Max won’t sleep without a toy.  It doesn’t really matter what kind.  It’s not unusual for me to get up in the morning and find a couple of soft toys, a rope and a raw hide on the bed.
  2. Lulu HATES to walk on wet grass, but she won’t pee on the sidewalk.  This makes for very interesting walks on rainy days.
  3. Max loves to watch TV.  He’s often more interested in the programs than I am.
  4. Lulu is WAY more social than I am.  In her mind, people=friends.  Unless Max starts barking at them.
  5. Both dogs snore.  Sometimes when they are awake.
  6. Max will bark at dogs on TV, even if they don’t make a noise.  Lulu barks at whatever Max is barking at.

Post #43, in which our heroine discusses fog, panic attacks, and big screen TVs

Yesterday was one of the biggest days The Storyteller Chronicles has had.  I’m a little confused as to where all the visitors came from, but I’m not complaining.  I hope you enjoyed what you read, and will keep coming back to check on me.

I decided to spend a few days at my parents house.  No real reason why.  Okay, I lied.  They just bought a 55″ LCD TV, and I wanted to see it in action.  I used the guise of coming down to lend my mom a book, and to visit my grandparents, so, last night, I loaded the dogs into the car and headed down.

It’s really the drive that I wanted to talk about.  First of all, I felt like I was fighting a panic attack all the way down.  This HAS to stop.  I won’t be able to function in the suburban environment in which I live if I’m too freaked out to get into a car.  I had to pull over a couple of times, just to walk around and take a breather.  I don’t know where this came from, but it didn’t take long to get old.

Actually, yesterday could have come from the realization that the panic attacks came in the car, so I was already a little anxious before I started to drive. It’d be just like me to work myself into a panic attack because I’m anxious that I might have a panic attack.

I found myself focusing on small things to help myself calm down (Je suis grande pamplemousse.  I think that’s going to be my French catch phrase from now on.) For instance, I discovered that the cement plant is almost exactly half way between my parent’s house and the 7-11 in Nephi. (I reset my tripomiter every time I fill up my car, mostly because I don’t trust my gas gage–my car is 14 years old, and the plastic bits keep falling off.  I noticed the tripomiter said 25.5 when I was passing the cement plant, then it said 51.1 when  I got to my folks house.) It’s a darn good thing that I didn’t meet a deer.

I feel like I need to mention that I’m a good driver.  I haven’t had a ticket in over 3 years, or an accident (either my fault or someone else’s) in over 5. I did total a car once, but that was gosh–10 years ago now.  That makes me feel old.  I have confidence in my own driving.  When I’m not freaking out over nothing, anyway.

I did, however, get treated to what is perhaps my favorite weather phenomenon while driving through Dog Valley.  It’s when it’s foggy, but the fog is sitting above the ground, just above the roof of the car. When I reached that point in the fog bank, it had the added benefit of being thicker in some places and thinner in others, so it was a little like driving through the Northern Lights.

You know, without the pretty colors and having to deal with deadly plasma bursts.

I might have to see if I can talk my dad into taking a drive with me, just to help me get over this anxiety.  Because, I know me, and until I’m over this thing, driving in a car is going to be hell.

Just because I have a mental illness doesn’t mean I’m crazy.

I realized, while staring at my ceiling in the wee hours this morning, that I should probably do  a post of explanation. When you Google me, the first page that pops up is my Facebook page.  I do have that set so only friends can see it, but I also have a link to this blog on the info page that anyone could see.  Potential employees, for instance, might be Googling me, then seeing how freely I refer to myself as “crazy” or “a madwoman” and get scared off.

So here’s the thing: yes, I have a mental illness: major depressive disorder, and have for most of my life.  However, on the spectrum of life-long mental illnesses, MDD is on the “less severe” side of the scale.  I don’t, for instance, have problems with psychosis, like a victim of bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia would.  My depression is well controlled with medication, and, if I had a job and could afford to go see a therapist, (ahem) it would have even less control of my life.

When I use words like “crazy”, “madwoman”, or “insane”, 90% of the time it’s as a joke.  I discovered a long time ago, that if I joke about the parts of myself that are most vulnerable, right now that means my mental health and my weight, a couple of things happen.  First of all, it makes the problems I’m dealing with internally less severe.  Secondly, it steals the ammunition from the bullies and big Meany-heads of the world by showing that you don’t care about what they think.  Honestly, I wouldn’t have survived middle or high school if I wasn’t able to laugh along with the bullies when the teased me.

The other thing I need to do is share my definition of words like “insane” and “crazy”

First of all, insane is a legal term, not a medical term.  It’s a judge or a jury that rules someone is insane, not a doctor.  The definition of insanity varies from state to state and government to government, but, the simplest definition, and the one I like the best is someone who is mentally deranged to the point where they don’t know the difference between right and wrong.   I know the difference between right and wrong.

Crazy is more difficult to describe, but, to me, some it’s like being insane with the added benefit of psychosis.  Someone who is crazy is or has been institutionalized.  This also fits my definition of a madman/madwoman.

I have never been institutionalized.  I know the difference between fantasy and reality, I know the difference between right and wrong.

I have a mental illness, one I’ll probably deal with my entire life.  I joke about being crazy, but I don’t think I am.

I also don’t think that having MDD is anything to be ashamed of.  Being open about my disease, and its symptoms is one of the ways that I deal with it.  I would be equally open if I had something like diabetes, epilepsy or asthma. It’s the way that I am.  And I would never change it.

It’s 2am and I can’t sleep. Might as well update the blog.

The anxiety that I posted about yesterday is still going strong, and is the primary reason I can’t sleep.  This is new–I honestly can’t remember the last time I was too worried to go to sleep.  It’d be so much better if I could figure out what I’m worried about.  I guess this is how E feels all the time.

When I separate the soul-crushing anxiety out of things, 2 am on a weeknight is incredibly peaceful.  All is quiet and still.  There is no traffic or outside noise (except the sound of my downstairs neighbor snoring).   I’d be stargazing, except for a) it’s overcast, b) light pollution and c) LASIK ruined my night vision to the point where I can’t really see the stars anymore.  It’s a time to sit back, mediate, and take in the world.

Or, you know, sleep.

I’ve had far too many 2ams recently, especially when I’m trying to keep my body on a sleep/wake schedule that won’t cause problems once I start working.  It’s getting better, but still–2am, and my body thinks it’s a great time to be wide awake.

Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way.  Perhaps I should try to find a job in, say, an observatory.  Because astronomers love being around night blind people who stink at math, and therefore physics, right?

Je suis un fou officielles

My sister has had a difficult week, so I spent the day at her house, because, you know, nothing helps with a hyperactive three-year old and a colicky infant like also having to take care of your crazy sister.  I debated kidnapping G for the day, but decided I needed to spend time with my sister.  Besides, I tried a batch of Bakerella’s cake balls, and they were getting all eaten at my house, so I needed to get rid of as many of them as possible.

While I was there, I helped Sis sort out the clothes that G and E have grown out of, and pull out some of G’s hand-me downs for E.  When we finished, and she was boxing up the newborn clothes, she said “Je suis grande maintenant.”  A quick note–my sister took French in middle and high school–I chose to use the discretionary language credits taking creative writing classes.  I did pick up a little French on my mission in Canada–a very little, mostly what was on packages in the grocery store.  Basically the names of fruit.

My sister, after showing of her bi-linguality, asked if I understood what she said.  I admitted that I didn’t. She told me it meant “I am big now.”  I joked that if she had thrown a fruit in there, I would have understood–“Je suis grande pamplemousse.”  I then had to admit that I couldn’t remember exactly what fruit pamplemousse is.  I had to ask Google, which then became difficult because I stink at spelling in English.  Spelling in French is nigh on impossible.

Anyway, I’ve spent today basically fighting panic attacks.  Strangely, I’ve felt them coming on when I’ve been in the car–first going up to my sister’s house, then when we were leaving Chick-fil-a where we went for lunch, then on the way home. This was odd–I love to drive.  I do have a hard time if I don’t have an exit route–like if I’m in a car with someone I don’t know very well or don’t trust behind the wheel, but my sister doesn’t fit either of those criteria.  And when I am in the car by myself, or when I’m driving someone else, I’m usually okay.

Long story short, on the way home, I found myself practicing saying “I am a big grapefruit” in French in an effort to calm myself down.

For those of you wondering, my header means “I am an official crazy person”, at least that’s what I typed into translate.reference.com.  When I switched it around, it came back “I am a crazy official”, which would be more àpropos is I had a job…

If either of my readers know how to more appropriately say “I am an official crazy person” in French, and would care to share it with me in the comments, I would be most appreciative. If you also happen to live within walking distance, I’ll even share the cake balls.

The Difference between Payson, Utah and Winnipeg, Manitoba

President Thomas S. Monson, prophet and leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced yesterday a temple is to be built in the small Utah town of Payson.

This is big news.  It makes me feel vindicated.  I’ve said for years that eventually they’d build a temple in southern Utah county.  Certain people, who, because I know they check this blog on a regular basis, shall remain nameless, dismissed the idea because they thought it would take away from the Manti Temple district.

While I’m happy for the people of Payson, and the surrounding areas–this will cut the travel time to the nearest temple by 20-30 minutes, I can’t help but mourn, too.  The Winnipeg, Manitoba temple has yet to be announced.

The story went, when I was on my mission, that the Church owns the land, most of the supplies needed, and a blueprint prepared for a temple to be built in Winnipeg.  Furthermore, when President Gordon B. Hinkley visited central Canada in 1998, everybody expected the temple to be announced.  But he addressed the members of Winnipeg, and no announcement was made.  He then traveled to Regina, and drove around the city with the stake president. (I heard this story directly from the stake president of the Regina Saskatchewan stake).  When he addressed the members of Regina, he announced that the city needed a temple, and one was to be built.

I don’t know why Regina got the temple and Winnipeg didn’t.  There are two stakes in Saskatchewan, but only one in Manitoba, but there are three wards in Winnipeg, and only two in Regina.  Winnipeg is the larger city.  I guess it all boils down to the residence of Regina being ready for a temple, while the residence of Winnipeg are not.

I remember sitting in a Relief Society lesson in the London ward of Winnipeg, while a ward temple trip was being planned.  The presenter mentioned how lucky they were to have a temple so close–Regina is only a six hour drive from Winnipeg.  My first thought was how odd–growing up in Utah, I have never lived more than 90 minutes away from a temple.  My next thought was, okay–prior to the temple in Regina, the next nearest temples to Winnipeg were in Edmonton, Alberta, or Toronto, Ontario–both about a 24 hour drive away.  My third thought was, the sisters need to be doing everything they can to bring a temple to Winnipeg.

I don’t know when the temple will be built in Winnipeg, but I know it will be.  My time to be helping the members of Winnipeg prepare for the blessings of the temple has long since past, but I still ache for the wonderful friends I made to have the blessing of a temple in their city.

Winnipegers, especially LDS Winnipegers, if there are any reading this–please make use of the Regina temple.  The best way to bring a temple to Winnipeg is to show that you are using the one you have now.  I don’t know how much things have changed since I was a missionary there in 2002-2004, but at that time, you didn’t realize the blessings you were missing out on by not having a temple in your city.  Please, do everything you can, and I promise you that you will be blessed.

The joys of dog ownership

I’ve had dogs my whole life, but Max and Lulu are the first that have been allowed to live inside the house.  Going from having a dog in the yard to two dogs inside my tiny condo has been full of surprises–I didn’t realize, for instance, how nice it is to have two warm little bodies curled up next to me on the bed.

I’d always heard that dogs don’t really pay attention to the TV, that they “see” the world more through the nose than their eyes and ears the way people do.  That may be true, but I find it difficult to watch the nature documentaries that I love anymore.  The sounds the various animals make drive the dogs nuts.  Chimps and dinosaurs seem to be the biggest culprits.  I have no idea how they distinguish the sounds these animals that I’m sure Max and Lulu have never seen from the random, weird people noises that come over the TV. (Granted, I don’t know what their life was like before they came to live with me, but I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t have had any reason to see a chimp in real life.  If they’ve seen dinosaurs, then that means they are time travelers, and I officially have the coolest dogs on the planet.) When a dog or a wolf, and occasionally a fox or coyote come on the TV, it drives Max and Lulu insane, even if it’s not making any noise.

Need proof?  This is me trying to watch a show about the wildlife of Yellowstone.  At least I think it was about the wildlife of Yellowstone.  I had to deal with this every time a wolf came on the screen.

What’s been super-fun for my downstairs neighbors is when I play this video, Max and Lulu then bark at themselves barking on the video.  And up to this point in time, I didn’t think I had enough money for surround sound!

Post Secret

Frank posted my secret.

he posted my secret

It’s not in my handwriting

It’s not my artwork

I didn’t send it in

but he posted my secret.

And suddenly, I don’t feel so alone.

After the Storm

We got perhaps six inches of snow yesterday, enough to seriously impede Max and Lulu in our evening walk.  There was enough snow that a tow truck, that came to tow a car that was illegally parked got stuck, and the driver had to call for backup, to get both himself and the car out.  Most of my neighbors were cheering for the snow, but the illegally parked car blocked the snowplow from clearing half of the main road in the complex.

I love the time after a good storm–granted, it’s better in the summer than in the winter.  The air is clear, the world is silent and beautiful.  As far as this year goes, it’s been especially nice–usually, right after a big snow storm, the temperature drops significantly, so it doesn’t get above 20°.  This year, the big storms have been followed by a period of relative warmth.  While all of you on the east coast were complaining about how cold this winter has been, I’ve been going outside in January, in Northern Utah, in sandals and without a coat.

The problem is today has been so peaceful, that I haven’t wanted to do anything–including reading or watching TV.  Max got me to play with him for a bit, then he decided that he would rather cuddle.  I made it to the grocery store–a mistake, really.  Mormon’s take the “keep the Sabbath Day holy” thing pretty seriously, but procrastinate like the rest of the world, so grocery stores on Saturday nights are always crowded.  And that’s about all I’ve done today.

This apathy is a little strange–because, really, I’m not feeling depressed or anxious.  And maybe I was just feeling the peace of the day after a big storm.  Or maybe I was being lazy and not wanting to clean off my car.

I did get some good news today.  I’ve been stressed because I thought my unemployment was going to run out in a few weeks, but I did some math, and I’ve got a few months.  That doesn’t mean that I’m going to let up on the job search, though, and today I thought of a few new directions/industries that I could look into.  I’ve almost decided that I’m going to have to do the retail thing, which, I’ve done before and I’m okay with.  I just really don’t want a job where I’d have to get a food handler’s permit.  I fully acknowledge, though, that I might have to forget that last bit of pride that I’m holding on to.

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